This may be my longest post ever. It was tough to write. It’s a hot mess and just all over the place, but I can’t look at it anymore. I just need to post it. I almost did not go to TMC15. I changed schools for the 2014-15 school year. As an experienced teacher I was not really worried about changing schools. I did not take into account the added stress I would encounter from new people, preps, procedures, and new culture. I did not take into account how difficult it would be to be “unknown” by students (and everyone) in a much larger school. But I found that it was a tremendous change for me. I had switched divisions, from middle school to high school, and had two new preps. I had never taught Geometry before. My co-teacher (who I had grown close to) quit mid-year. My three children also changed schools with me and it took them a while to adjust. Plus, as much as I love high school students, I really missed teaching middle school students. I was overwhelmed and under water most of the year. Luckily, I have an amazingly supportive administration at my new school. That, and a few key people completely saved my year. But it was still hard. So hard that I haven’t recovered enough to think about education, or read educational books. For the first time since I returned to teaching, all I did in this summer was SUMMER. I was anxious about going to TMC because much of my time there involves intense math education conversations. I just didn’t know if I was ready to be immersed in education yet. At the same time, I was worried that if I didn’t go, I would still feel this way on the first day of school. I love teaching, and I adore my students, so I didn’t want this to happen. In the end, I decided that I HAD to go to TMC, because I was hoping it would inspire me. Enter Fawn. My most impactful “non-lesson” TMC thing was Fawn’s keynote. Fawn’s talk deeply moved me. She reminded me how much I love my students. Her talk created the shift in me that I had been hoping for the entire conference. It wasn’t about pedagogy and activities. It was about the heart, because that is why we teach. Students are why I love teaching. Fawn’s talk affected me emotionally. It makes me tear up, even now, just thinking about it. I am excited to go back to school now, and I can’t thank you enough Fawn. Of course, the rest of Twitter Math Camp was amazing as well. Lisa Henry said that it was like a family reunion, others jokingly referred to it as a cult. There are many things that set this conference apart (and above), other conferences or professional developments, but the most impactful difference is the support, and even the love that is there. Fawn’s talk was even titled, “A Love Letter to the MTBoS”. Teachers do not attend TMC just to learn how to become a better teacher, they attend TMC to connect with other progressive and like minded math teachers. Last year, I connected with many Geometry and Alg2 teachers at TMC14. These connections not only carried me through the year, they saved my year, especially in Geometry (special thanks to Jim Doherty and Peg Cagle). Connections like these are the “special sauce” that makes TMC better than other conferences. Last year after TMC some of the amazing things I implemented were Glenn’s (h,k) forms, Cindy’s Conic Cards, and Plickers. I have an even longer list of new things I can’t wait to try this year. My number one TMC15 thing (#1TMCthing) is to try to include debate in class. Who doesn’t love a great debate? And it totally fits in with my class personality. Other things from TMC15 that I want to try are:
- A Full Scale Math Debate: Using a Debate as a Summative Assessment, #1TMCthing Chris Luzniak
- Activity-Based Teaching (grades 7-12)
- Function Transformations Without Tears
- Going Deeper with Desmos
- Swan-Style Task Factory
- Music Cues
- Delta Math thanks to Mattie!
- Google Classroom and Pear Deck
- Giving Hi-Fives to students as they enter class (Glenn)
- Don’t forget to ask what they think the answer is before you start. I saw Sam get totally sucked in and it reminded me how important that is for buy in!
- Great words to use and live by:
- Periscope – John Stevens
Lisa had a great idea that we could all pick the one thing that we most wanted to implement and tweet it out to #1TMCThing. Then, on Oct.26th, we are all going to check in on other people that picked our same thing. This is support and community. And this is why I love TMC and the #MTBoS so much! This year I had a blast at game night, where Deborah Boden was nice enough to give me an amazing pink math teacher shirt! Before the conference even started, I got a shout out from Jonathan that made my heart smile. I presented a session with Sam and Brendan (even though I complained so much because I wasn’t in the mood to prepare). Thankfully, Sam didn’t let me off the hook, and it felt great sharing my story. I finally got to go to IN-N-OUT burger with tech genius John Stevens and posted the pic on Instagram for my former students. I was excited that they remembered the lesson from 2 years ago! I got to do Barbie Bungee with Fawn and Matt! I also learned how much preconceived ideas can affect your math. Matt had mentioned quadratics to me and even had a quadratic option in the Desmos model so I totally went for it. And totally failed (sorry Hedge and Ashley)! But it was such a great experience and I would not have been satisfied if I hadn’t tried it. Sam, Tina and I conducted a lunch meeting on the next blogging initiative, and I presented a short “My Favorite” on Kahoot. I had a blast collecting money for a gift for Lisa, posing as a raffle, especially when she bought five tickets! And, even though I didn’t help write it, Sean and Rachel and David still asked me to help sing the amazing song they created. ❤ But one of my favorite things about Twitter Math Camp is all of the Tweeting that is going on. The backchannel is almost more active than the conference. It is almost like there are TWO conferences going on at all times. It gets pretty bad (in the best way). Finally, I just had an amazing time reconnecting with the best friends I have ever had. My only regret is not spending more time meeting and talking with new people. I am sorry about that. After all of the changes this year, I really needed serious quality (healing) time with my closest friends. I needed to sing and dance, a lot. I tried hard to be myself, even though I wasn’t feeling like myself. Thank you tweeps, for being there for me this year. And even though I wasn’t in the best frame of mind this year, TMC, and the love of the people attending, inspired me again. They are not only “my people”, they are my soul mates. Special thanks to my dear friend Lisa Henry for all of the work she does for this. I don’t know how she gets it all done (and done so well), but I am very thankful for her! Also thanks to the TMC Planning Committee, Darryl Yong, Harvey Mudd College, and our barbeque hosts. I can’t even imagine the amount of work that went into planning and pulling this off for so many people. Twitter Math Camp is all about love. Piano, piano on tweeps! Camp Song – “Party at the TMC”
“Party at the TMC” I hopped off the plane at L.A.X. Because I didn’t realize there was a closer airport Welcome to the land of awesome tweeps (whoa), Am I gonna fit in? Jumped in the car, Here we are for the fourth time (beat) Look to my right and I see the Harvey Mudd Sign This is all so crazy Everybody seems so famous My phone is buzzin’ with the fav-rites and the retweets So much excitement and I’m nervous, That’s when Lisa turned on the microphone And then TMC was on And then TMC was on And then TMC was on [Chorus:] So I put my hands up I’m giving high fives The MTBoS is here to stay We’re starting on time like yeah Movin’ our thumbs like yeah We got our phones out, We’re tweeting along, There’s awesome packed in every day Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play (breathe!) Get to Friday gonna share my fav Everybody’s tweeting at me now Like, “Who’s that chick that 3D prints?” I gotta go and track her down. (beat) Sooo hard to choose, why can’t I pick three? It’s definitely not like normal PD ‘Cause all I see are teaching pro-s Sha-kin’ it in front of two pianos (breathe!) My tummy’s rumbling’ and I gotta pick a food TRUCK Gonna count the times that fawn will say f…. whoa whoa whoa! -something incredibly heartfelt that makes us all feel very emotional- That’s when Chris Shore dropped and did the worm And then Fawn put a wig on And then Fawn put a wig on And then Matt put a wig on So we put our hands up We’re two hundred strong And growing bigger ev’ry day Bar-be-que-ing like yeah Nixing the tricks like yea Now look at these pics Which doesn’t belong? There’s awesome packed in every day Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Soon I’m hoppin’ on my flight (on my fllight) Wish I’d won The Price Is Right (Price is Right) Hard to leave you every time (every time) But then I’ll just log on and I’ll feel alright So we put our hands up We’re waving goodbye We’re sad to all go away: Courtyard chil-ling like yeah Raf-fle-ing stuff like yeah We found what we love, We’re doing that now, And did it for the last four days Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play And of course, my favorite moments at TMC, in pictures!